Tips for Thickening Nutritional Supplements

If you are on thickened liquids, how can you safely drink pre-made nutritional shakes like Boost and Ensure? This video will help answer your questions.


6 Comments on “Tips for Thickening Nutritional Supplements”

  1. Abbey says:

    Hi, this is a great video. I am a dietitian and I have tried to use thickeners in a range of supplements to reach stage 1 and 2, however they vary so much- I guess the water component must be different. Some did not thicken, some thickened too much, some didnt dissolve the thickener. I have used a fork and cup, and a shaker. We found that pre-thickened supplements are the safest thing to use, but that can mean changing a supplement the patient already uses. Is there a way to use thickeners successfully in all supplements, and how much thickener should me added?!

    • Hi Abbey. Thanks for the question. I agree, pre-thickened supplements are the safest and easiest to use, but are not readily available for home use in the US.

      Since my clients like an array of different brands of supplements, they are left with using an instant food thickener to make them safe to use at home.

      Like so many things, finding the right amount of thickener for each supplement takes trial and error.

      First, I always recommend using a “clear” gum-based thickener like ThickenUp Clear, Thick & Easy Clear, SloDrinks or Simply Thick. Starch thickeners, like ThickIt, react to variables like temperature, acidity and alkalinity. Starch thickeners also continue to thicken over time and can be “touchy” to use. They also make nutrient dense beverages (like milk and supplements) a strange but safe texture.

      Gum thickeners act the same across temperatures and acidity/alkalinity levels. Once they’ve reached final thickness, they stop. Gelled gum thickeners, like Simply Thick, mix into supplements even easier than powdered gum thickeners but tend to be more expensive and not readily available for purchase.

      Once you decide on a thickener, the next step is trial-and-error. Mix, chill and test until you’ve acheived the right consistency. Once you know, right it into your protocol.

      That said, Abbey, you’ve given me a great idea! I am going to run an experiment on how much thickener to use with each of the different commercially available nutritional supplements and post the findings on my blog. I’ll film the results and put the findings on a .pdf file so you can download them and use them for your patients.

      Thanks again for the great question!

  2. Renda Sullivan says:

    Great video! Thank you for doing this. Very, very helpful.

  3. Idell Tinn says:

    Thank you for every other fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such a perfect approach of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such information.

    • Idell, this article is a result of years of hands-on experiences in using both supplements and instant food thickeners with my clients. You may find helpful information at nfosd.org, the website for the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders.


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